'Once your mindset changes, everything will change with it...'
This week we spoke to Anna Petchell, the Yachting Exit Strategy Coach. Anna works with superyacht crew to discover and expand their future possibilities after a career in yachting. As a previous crew member herself, she recognised the environmental pressures that yachting was having and she gives us her insights.
Can you give us, at SSY, a brief description of your experience within the yachting industry?
I spent 8 years in the yachting industry working both interior and out on deck, but the last 5 as a Deckhand and Bosun. In my final years as Bosun I became more aware and conscious of the environment and the impact the industry was having on it - everything to the products we were using, and the waste that was being created, as well as the pollution. Once I became very aware, it was hard to not see the damage that we were creating.
Once I became very aware, it was hard to not see the damage that we were creating.
How do you view our current global environmental pressures in terms of the responsibility that the yachting industry holds?
The yachting industry is a luxury industry that does consume resources and has an impact on the environment, but boats do have the ability to offset their carbon emissions by investing in carbon credits. A few boats could lead the way, to something that becomes industry standard. This would be amazing.
We know you specialise in setting out clear goals and action plans for crew, what would you say your top tips are when trying to create a new plan?
Looking at the future of where you are aiming for and getting really clear on what you would like to achieve. Then breaking that down into manageable steps so that each person feels like they can see and have a part in their actions as a responsible crew member. Making these inspirational, aspirational and desirable to achieve - by seeing exactly how they can have an impact.
What are your thoughts on changing mindsets and attitudes onboard?
Lead by example. Set a good example to other crew members. Sometimes people may initially be hesitant, but by taking responsible actions daily and knowing that every bit helps, is a good place to start.
Do you have any advice for individual crew that are facing hostility from other crew members, when it comes to wanting to make sustainable changes onboard?
Sometimes it can be hard to change the mindsets of those who are hostile to change - so firstly speaking with the Captain and HOD’s before making any dramatic changes, just to be sure you have the same vision of where you would like to change things, and bringing in a clear vision of why this will have a positive impact.
We know you have a personal interest towards sustainability, how do you feel the yachting industry could change in relation to becoming more sustainable?
I personally am all about trying to be a bit more eco conscious and aware, and then taking small steps that are good for the planet and inspiring to others. In each crew members role, see if there are small areas you could improve or change. For example as the Bosun - we were able to stop using acid on the teak, and use the deck Karcher and water, boat soap and vinegar. These have less of an impact on the environment, your health, the state of the boat and the paint work, and overall a far safer product to use, that still had a great result. Also finding products from suppliers that do eco products for yachts - theres a lot of companies now offering these supplies who have very high quality and will often let you try before you buy. As well as finding local provisioners who source sustainably and use biodegradable packaging.
In each crew members role, see if there are small areas you could improve or change.
The one other thing to add would be the IMO’s ship emergency efficiency management plan (SEEMP), this is one of the MARPOL regulations that makes you make your vessel as energy efficient as possible, as well reducing its emissions. It also includes guides on - reducing fuel consumption, the energy efficiency of the ship and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions of the ship. I think many commercial vessels have to implement this already, however it would be great to see private ones voluntarily doing this too.
Thanks to Anna for her insights, be sure to check out Anna's website